LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Concussions are a consistent issue that high school sports players have to face.
A new study from the journal Pediatrics showed that high school football players are experiencing concussions less often during practice, but game-time concussions have increased.
The study looked at high school athletes in 20 sports and found that the number of repeat concussions had dropped.
The Centers for Disease Control statistics show that 800,000 traumatic brain injuries occur in kids every year.
The highest concussion rates were found in the following sports:
- Boys' football: 10.4 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
- Girls' soccer: 8.19 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
- Boys' ice hockey: 7.69 concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures
The study found that almost two-thirds of concussions happened during competitions. Cheerleaders, however, had a higher concussion rate in practice than competitions.
“In football, there have been significant changes made to reduce contact exposure during routine practices, which has reduced the amount of player-to-player collisions and other mechanisms that contribute to head injury,” Tad D. Seifert, M.D., neurologist with Norton Sports Health and Norton Neuroscience Institute, said. “However, the intensity of a competitive game atmosphere is also something that’s very difficult to reproduce in a practice setting.”
Gymnasium floors are typically made of hard rubber or vinyl, according to Dr. Seifert, which increase the risk of brain injury during falls.
The study found that less than 10% of concussions were repeated; meaning that athletes are suffering less repeated concussions.
“There’s always a risk when playing sports,” Dr. Seifert said. “But, in my opinion, the benefits — exercise, teamwork, socialization — outweigh the risk. With that being said, health is the most important component. Any teen with a concussion should be closely monitored and cleared by a professional before resuming activity.”